Embracing Hand Held Technology within Higher Education: ‘Nearpod’


The rapidly increasing usage of interactive technology within early year’s education has led to a new generation of students entering university. There is now a greater reliance on visual imagery and active participation in the learning process (Black et al. 2007). Using interactive technology within teaching has been demonstrated to encourage student engagement by facilitating a constructivist approach, promoting an active learning environment (Sternberger 2012). In addition, student feedback reports very favourably on technology integration, suggesting it increases their comprehension and retention of learning material (Sankey e al. 2010) whilst also enhancing student satisfaction (Eastman et al. 2011).

In 2012 UCAS reported 82% of university and college students in the UK to own a smartphone or similar portable interactive device (UCAS Media 2012).  ‘Nearpod’ is a free app that can be downloaded onto all interactive devices (smartphone, tablet, ipod touch) or opened in a web browser. This interactive learning tool facilitates a creative yet simple way to compile and incorporate multimedia, share interactive lessons and assess learning in ‘real time’, enabling quick personalised feedback for students.

Whilst a presentation can be created in nearpod, the option to upload a presentation from Microsoft PowerPoint is available. Once done, you have the option to incorporate quizzes, polls, videos, web pages, open ended questions and drawing tasks for students to complete on their interactive device. In class live results, pictures and answers are fed directly back to the teachers screen which can be shared and discussed with students. These features create an environment that constantly encourages feedback whilst also giving you the ability to determine students understanding through interactive practice.

Feedback on nearpod from Students at the University of Worcester so far have been extremely positive with students enjoying and really engaging with the interactive learning process. I have used this app with both HND and undergraduate students ranging from class sizes of 6 to 30. With both the smaller and larger cohorts the app proved very effective in terms of student engagement in the learning process.  The students were interested and motivated throughout the lesson and found the immediate feedback invaluable. In one particular instance, an end of topic quiz enabled me to immediately identify strong and weak areas of knowledge and I was able to help students understand where and why they had gone wrong.  This gave students an opportunity to rectify confusions straightaway and it also aided my construction of revision sessions in preparation for summative assessment.

For any more information please contact Sarah Browne: s.browne:@worc.ac.uk

http://www.nearpod.com/

References

Black, B. L., Heatwole, H. and Meeks, H. (2007) Using multimedia in interactive learning objects to meet emerging academic challenges. In Learning Objects: Theory, Praxis, Issues, and Trends. Koohang, A. and Harman, K. (Eds.), Santa Rosa, California. Informing Science Press.

 

Eastman, J. K., Iyer, R. and Eastman, K. L. (2011) Improving Undergraduate Student Satisfaction with the Consumer Behavior Course: Will Interactive Technology Help? Marking Education Review, 21 (2), 139-150.

Sankey, M., Birch, D. and Gardiner, M. (2010). Engaging students through multimodal learning environments: The journey continues. [Online]. Proceedings ascilite. Sydney, Austrailia 2010.

Sternberger, C. S. (2012) Interactive Learning Environment: Engaging Students Using Clickers. Nursing Education Perspectives, 33 (2), 121-124

UCAS Media (2012) Eight out of ten freshers have smartphones. Does student marketing now mean mobile marketing? [Online] Available from: http://www.ucasmedia.com/news/2013/eight-out-of-ten-freshers-have-smartphones

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